MixedThe New York Review of BooksJoyce Carol Oates once proposed the term \'pathography\' for the subspecies of biography meant to deflate and demean its subject ... Seife is not committing pathography. He aims to find the human lost inside the myth, so he must first chip away a gaudy shell ... Perhaps inspired by Hawking’s own taste for time reversal, he has arranged this biography in reverse chronological order ... but telling Hawking’s story backward creates challenges for the reader, especially because it means reversing the scientific story as well. Results precede their causes, sometimes bewilderingly. We don’t get to Hawking radiation and the Hawking area theorem till near the end ... Meanwhile, we take in the brutal progress of his illness ... The metamorphosis at the book’s heart is, when it comes, dramatic.
RaveThe New York Review of BooksLepore is a brilliant and prolific historian with an eye for unusual and revealing stories, and this one is a remarkable saga, sometimes comical, sometimes ominous ... Simulmatics...is almost completely forgotten. Yet Lepore finds in it a plausible untold origin story for our current panopticon: a world of constant surveillance, if not by the state then by megacorporations that make vast fortunes by predicting and manipulating our behavior—including, most insidiously, our behavior as voters ... Deeply researched, written with elegance and passion, If Then gives a vivid picture of [Simulatics\' executives\'] lives, including their often miserable wives, suffering \'the bad bargains of the middle-class marriages of the 1950s.\'
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... a pleasure. Mack’s style is personal and often funny as she guides us along a cosmic timeline studded with scientific esoterica and mystery ... This might seem like the wrong time for a book peering billions of years into the future to examine the ultimate doom and destruction. We have doom and destruction of our own to worry about, arriving faster and faster. These days many people wake up wondering if we’ll make it past November. Plague is rampant. The Arctic Circle is on fire. Still, I found it helpful — not reassuring, certainly, but mind-expanding — to be reminded of our place in a vast cosmos.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewBecker sides with the worriers. He leads us through an impressive account of the rise of competing interpretations, grounding them in the human stories, which are naturally messy and full of contingencies. He makes a convincing case that it’s wrong to imagine the Copenhagen interpretation as a single official or even coherent statement. It is, he suggests, a 'strange assemblage of claims.'
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewAs he did in his Pulitzer Prize-winning history of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies (2010), Mukherjee views his subject panoptically, from a great and clarifying height, yet also intimately...Mukherjee arranges his history not just chronologically but thematically. This is necessary. Science seldom progresses in a neat logical order anyway, but genetics, especially, encompasses and influences many subjects at once: biology, information science, even psychiatry.